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Thread: Governments and politics in Elite Dangerous

  1. This is the last staff post in this thread. #1

    Governments and politics in Elite Dangerous

    Hey guys,
    One of the group leaders asked a question in the group leaders forum about governments and how they work. Specifically with the purpose of being able to write better stories and background in the game. It's been suggested that the answer would be beneficial to be added to the public forums and I agree. So here it is.

    Question

    ===


    Imperial Senate


    • What is the structure of the Senate?
    • How are Senators selected / appointed?
    • Does every Empire system have representation on the Senate?
    • Where is the Senate located? Is it in a named building, in a particular city?
    • What is the length a Senator's term in office?
    • If each Empire system is indeed represented by a Senator, does that therefore mean the Senator changes each time the controlling minor faction flips in that system?
    • What are the day to day responsibilities of Senators?
    • Are Senators chosen exclusively from only certain demographics / minor faction types, for example could only a Patron become a Senator, or is the position open to individuals from Corporations, or from Dictatorship minor faction governments as well?



    Federation Congress

    • What is the structure of Congress?
    • How are Congresspersons selected / appointed?
    • Does every Federation system have representation in Congress?
    • Where exactly is Congress located?
    • What is the length of a Congresspersons term in office?
    • Do Congresspersons change when their system's controlling Minor Faction is flipped?
    • What are the day to day responsibilities of Congresspersons?
    • Are Congresspersons chosen exclusively from only certain minor faction government types, such as Democratic, or could an individual from a Corporate, or Cooperative faction also become a Congressperson?



    Alliance Council of Admirals / Prime Minister's Office


    • What is the current structure of the Council and how exactly does it interact with the Office of the Prime Minister for the Alliance?
    • How are the PM, and Council members selected?
    • Where, and in what manner, are each Alliance member system represented politically?
    • Where exactly is the PM's Office & the Council located?
    • What is the length of the PM's term in office, and how long do members of the council serve?
    • How does the Council respond in terms of political representation, when a member system's Minor Faction flips?
    • What are the day to day responsibilities of the PM and members of the Council?



    Providing this sort of information is really key to allowing players and groups to write stories that fit the game well, organise events that are consistent with established lore, and also means we don't waste any time or effort developing fiction that isn't really appropriate for the setting.

    ===

    Imperial Senate
    · What is the structure of the Senate?
    All Senators and the Emperor can ‘sit’ in the Senate, but it is rare that all participate at the same time. The Chancellor is a Senator with additional powers, and he or she runs any debates in the Senate. They are appointed by the Emperor. It is otherwise structurally flat by law, but in practice has power blocks within it, led by the more important/powerful Senators. Not all Senators are equal. There are regular votes on issues of the day, and the Senator’s voting power is the total number of Citizens (in turn represented by Clients, and blocks of Clients by Patrons) they currently represent. They are influenced by their most powerful Patrons – who in turn are not all equal, and Patrons may move their block to another Senator at a whim, particularly if they feel their current Senator is not representing the views of their Clients. Senators can lose Patrons quickly if their actions are unpopular, but bear in mind a Senator sets tax rates and healthcare for all those that support them, so can effectively bribe Patrons to ally themselves with them. The most powerful Senators can have a hundred or more times the voting power than others, and a Senate majority can be just a few of the major Senators, but honour requires that the views of all Senators are listened to politely. Before voting against them.
    How are Senators selected / appointed?
    There are no elections. A Senator represents a group of Patrons, who in turn represent Clients, and each of those represents a group of Citizens. This representation is public. Anyone can see who is currently supporting each Senator (Patron, Client), and their numbers. There are 1,000 Senators by Imperial Decree, dating back to the first Emperor a thousand years ago. A very popular Patron can petition to become a Senator if he or she thinks they could represent more Citizens than one of the least popular Senators. That less popular Senator the petitioner chooses to target has the opportunity to rally support against the challenger for seven days, but as does the popular Patron, and at the end of that period a decision is made based on their support, and that Patron cannot petition again for 1 Earth year if they are unsuccessful. Similarly a deposed Senator cannot petition to become a Senator again for a year. Posting a petition has a cost (1 Bn CR, paid to the Emperor) to prevent time wasters, which is returned if the petition succeeds.
    When a Senator dies or chooses to retire, usually their chosen successor takes their Senatorial seat. Most Senators will have such a chosen successor already working closely in their entourage, and familiar and friendly with their most powerful Patrons so continuity is assured; as a result generally their petitions are unopposed. Sometimes multiple petitions are made for the same Senatorial opening, which can happen when a Senator and their entourage dies in the same event, so this is the nearest the Empire gets to an election, with the most popular succeeding in their petition.
    A controversial issue can result in a sudden mass realignment of Patrons, but this can happen at any time; the system is pretty dynamic.
    Similarly there are not just senatorial petitions as above, but there are petitions for Patrons, Clients, and Citizens. A citizen petition is where a slave or child of a Citizen, or even a foreigner, petitions to become an Imperial Citizen. For children this is a fairly informal process, which is really a coming-of-age party with a brief ceremony at the start, which happens when they reach 21 years old.
    Apart from the Emperor, royal standing is separate from political standing. Knights, Princes etc exist, and only a few get involved in politics – and then it is mostly by influencing and supporting friendly Senators from behind the scenes, but there is nothing stopping them also becoming Senators.
    · Does every Imperial system have representation on the Senate?
    Effectively, but indirectly. Every Imperial Citizen has a right to representation by a Client. Every Client has a right to be represented by a Patron, and every Patron a Senator. Senators generally represent power bases – which can be many systems or a specific interest group, and typically many hundred Patrons – though it is up to the Senator how many Patrons they have. There is not a fixed number. So if a system has just one Imperial Citizen living there, they will have representation in the Senate – but most likely only indirectly through their Patrons. It is likely there is a Patron at the head of each of the larger Imperial Minor Factions for example, but not a Senator.
    · Where is the Senate located? Is it in a named building, in a particular city?
    Historically it used to always physically sit in the Senate House on Capitol (Achenar 6d). It is near to the Imperial Palace. Technically it still does sit there, but in practice most Senators ‘sit’ virtually by remote projection – though by tradition there are a number of events (like the accession of a new Emperor, and on ‘Empire Day’ (January 2nd) where it is considered ‘proper and polite’ to attend physically, where a party atmosphere descends on Capitol as the entourages of each Senator arrive in their finery.
    · What is the length a Senator's term in office?
    Generally until death, or until they choose to retire. Occasionally an unpopular Senator is challenged by a petition (see above), and that can also end their term.
    · If each Imperial system is indeed represented by a Senator, does that therefore mean the Senator changes each time the controlling minor faction flips in that system?
    No. See above. A Minor Faction is likely to be led by a Patron.
    · What are the day to day responsibilities of Senators?
    To represent their Patrons as they see fit. Senators can also hold other roles, like Admiral of the Fleet, Chancellor, Leader of the House (runs the Senate hearings when the Emperor and Chancellor are not present). Senators can also have private interests, and generally represent one or more Corporations – often with large personal shareholdings in them. They are fully entitled to be biased towards their own interests, and generally do, as long as most of their Patrons hold much the same interests. Senators are above the law, subject only to a decree from the Emperor, and through history it has even been known for Senators to go to battle against each other.
    · Are Senators chosen exclusively from only certain demographics / minor faction types, for example could only a Patron become a Senator, or is the position open to individuals from Corporations, or from Dictatorship minor faction governments as well?
    No, there are Senators that have come up from the Military, or by corporate success – but by the very nature of Patronage, and the cost of the petitions, it can be very exclusive, with family inheritance being important too.


    Federation Congress
    · What is the structure of Congress?
    Federal Congress is made up of 500 Congressmen (the term for both men and women). They sit in Congress, which is in Olympus Village on Mars – which replaced its location in Washington DC early in the previous millennium.
    · How are Congresspersons selected / appointed?
    Congressmen are elected for an eight year term, along with a President, with a ‘vote of no confidence’ after four years. If the vote of no confidence succeeds then a full election takes place. A Congressman (or President) cannot serve multiple consecutive terms, though a Congressman can (and often does) become President immediately after a term as a Congressman.
    · Does every Federation system have representation in Congress?
    Yes, but generally a Congressman represents multiple systems, except a few (like Sol) that have more than one Congressional representative, based loosely on historic population. Phenomenal growth in the outer systems has meant that they have little representation in Congress, and there is frequent discussion about creating many new Congressmen to address this balance, but the various power blocks realise it will change the balance of power away from the core systems, the very people who would have to vote it through – so many agree it is unlikely to happen in the near future.
    · Where exactly is Congress located?
    Olympus Village (a misnomer – it is now a sprawling metropolis) on Mars, and Congressmen are expected to attend in person to vote.
    · What is the length of a Congresspersons term in office?
    Up to eight years. They can get voted out after four, as above.
    · Do Congresspersons change when their system's controlling Minor Faction is flipped?
    Not until their term is up, but their life could become difficult, so they might resign, triggering a local election.
    · What are the day to day responsibilities of Congresspersons?
    Representing their constituency. They can also hold other office as part of government – for example chairing committees etc. They are not allowed to have corporate interests that might conflict with their political roles (though quite often some hide them via their friends, spouses etc, and not all get found out)
    · Are Congresspersons chosen exclusively from only certain minor faction government types, such as Democratic, or could an individual from a Corporate, or Cooperative faction also become a Congressperson?
    Anyone can stand for election. They do not need to be backed by a political party or minor faction, but it helps. There are three major parties, Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. Corporations generally do push (and fund) their chosen candidates or parties (eg Hudson), as do other special interest groups.


    Alliance Council of Admirals / Prime Minister's Office
    · What is the current structure of the Council and how exactly does it interact with the Office of the Prime Minister for the Alliance?
    Each Alliance Member State has a number of Council Members within the Alliance Assembly, based on the size of their respective populations. Some only have one. The Prime Minister is elected by the Members, and it is his or her job to corral them into some sort of consensus; generally a slow process. There is much less tradition than in the other powers, and processes within the Alliance Assembly are still subject to change – generally when arguments break out, as they frequently do. In practice the Alliance is largely run by Civil Servants – salaried officials that look after day to day running of the Alliance, generally not getting involved in the political struggles.
    The Alliance Defence Force is run by the six member Council of Admirals, independently from the Council of Members, but reporting to it after the event, to facilitate rapid decision-making. Each of these Admirals is from a key contributing Navy.
    · How are the PM, and Council members selected?
    The PM is elected by the Council Members. Each Member State has slightly different electoral rules based on their history.
    · Where, and in what manner, are each Alliance member system represented politically?
    By their Council Member(s) in Parliament. Parliament is virtual, but run from Turner’s World in Alioth.
    · Where exactly is the PM's Office & the Council located?
    Garden City on Turner’s World in Alioth, close to the old industrial and ship-building city of New Rossyth.
    · What is the length of the PM's term in office, and how long do members of the council serve?
    In theory the Prime Minister is elected for six years, but disputes within the Assembly have meant that the PM often doesn’t make it that long. They can suffer votes against them, often resulting in resignation, or occasionally votes of not confidence. They can serve multiple terms, but none have manages to do so yet.
    · How does the Council respond in terms of political representation, when a member system's Minor Faction flips?
    If this happens within a Member State, then depending on the rules of that Member State it could change who represents them in the Assembly – but given that the Assembly rarely gets anything done, it is unlikely anyone will notice.
    · What are the day to day responsibilities of the PM and members of the Council?
    The Assembly represents their population. The Council of Admirals runs the Alliance Defence Force. The real power rests with the Civil Servants, and the Council of Admirals.

    Michael

  2. #2
    Thanks for the information bomb!

    But ANARCHY!! all the way!! who needs to be governed?

  3. #3
    Originally Posted by Arjin View Post (Source)
    But ANARCHY!! all the way!! who needs to be governed?
    Don't tell me what I do or not need!



  4. #4
    Do not forget about the rampant corruption that exists in all three states in some shape or form. As with politics today, corruption must be as common as or more common than in modern times.

  5. #5
    you might want to crosspost this into the elite fiction forums, as it contains a lot of interesting stuff that is really relevant to anyone writing stories.

  6. #6
    Finally proof that the Imperial Woodstock is a farce fabricated by players who couldn't bother undermining each other through piracy. No such thing as Imperial Unity through will, only by force.

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Arjin View Post (Source)
    Thanks for the information bomb!

    But ANARCHY!! all the way!! who needs to be governed?
    +1. My only bone of contention is there's no Anarchist Federation in the game.

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by Apos View Post (Source)
    Finally proof that the Imperial Woodstock is a farce fabricated by players who couldn't bother undermining each other through piracy. No such thing as Imperial Unity through will, only by force.
    Wossat Apos?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
    Originally Posted by JeffRyan View Post (Source)
    Wossat Apos?
    That picture is probably before Marlin Duval died.

  10. #10
    So hard to express over a forum how I feel about reading this kind of stuff. Would probably hug you in person! This makes the galaxy so much more alive. I wonder, could direct information like this be slipped into a subsection of galnet somehow? An in game elite wiki?
    -
    Of course, I assume that now this is out in the open we'll be seeing more galnet stories involving more details that will shed better insight on these organizations: "Earlier this week Patrons John Doe, Fred Flintstone and Jerry Seinfeld withdrew support for Senator Nancy Drew after Senator Drew presented her proposal for...."
    -
    Great stuff, love it!

  11. #11
    Great stuff! Sure would love to see some representation of the Alliance Defense Force / Alliance Council of Admirals in the game!

  12. #12
    great thread but i am a leader of a group and do not know of this forum that this question was asked. Any links anyone?
    ta

  13. #13
    Bask people, BASK!

    Also, thank you Zac for the wealth of information

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by Marcus Machiavelli View Post (Source)
    great thread but i am a leader of a group and do not know of this forum that this question was asked. Any links anyone?
    ta
    There is a private forum for leaders of groups that have submitted the correct information to Frontier. This forum is only visible if you have specifically been given access and I think it's just one person per faction or group that can join.

    Take a look at the stickies in the "Dangerous Groups" forum for further info on how to register your group.

  15. #15
    Great information! Please implement a galactopedia or something to make such info more accessible from inside the game. It could just be an item on the main menu. Include history, power play leader profiles, etc.

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